Things (Cosas)

I love my past, I love my present. I am not ashamed of what I have had, and I am not sad because I no longer have it.

(Sidonie Gabrielle) Colette, The Last of Cheri

colette 2While I may not be sad because I no longer have access to some things, I do think about going back to the States to get them. They would make life easier or more pleasant, and I wouldn’t think about spending money again for some of life’s little necessities.

For the second day in a row the sky wore its gray mantle throughout and today there were clouds dark enough to remind one of rain, which did occur last night. It was very brief, but the metal walk connecting our two second floor apartments was still wet even after a few hours. I shopped for groceries at Bodega Aurrera, the Walmart affiliate. I was there mid-afternoon and there were many families shopping – grocery shopping here reminds me very much of my childhood when I remember grocery shopping as a family event. Kids today were tugging at parents’ sleeves and pointing at toys (boys and girls) and clothes (girls) because this was just a few days before El Día de los Santos Reyes (also known as El Día de Reyes), the day on which children receive the bulk of their presents.

On my initial flight to México in November I brought two suitcases and a carry-on. The suitcases weighed 23 and 21 kilos. I also had a carry-on that weighed about 11 kilos. Then there was the one personal item which just barely fit under the seat in front of me. Most of what I brought was clothing, toiletries and cosmetics.

I went back to the States in early December and returned to Mexico with the same number of bags, although they weighed less. Among the things I brought back from this most recent trip were a few kitchen items that I just couldn’t find or that were just better quality than what I was able to buy in San Miguel.

I’m a 183 cm tall female, so some things might not seem as important to you! I find – unsurprisingly – little in my sizes in Mexico. I also find new clothing and linens relatively expensive.

what I brought back with me from my last trip to the states

  • Knife sharpener
  • Can opener
  • Electric water heater for tea and coffee
  • Inflatable mattress
  • Yoga mat
  • Skillet (it was a gift and it’s proven very handy)
  • Some small bowls
  • Food storage containers (I can buy them here inexpensively, but I packed things inside them and so didn’t have to buy them again)
  • Warm PJs
  • Panties and bras (extends my need to do laundry)
  • Athletic socks
  • An outdoor vest

what I bought on my last trip to the states

  • Shoes – dress flats, walking shoes, ballet flats
  • Medias (tights, leggings, pantyhose)
  • Supplements and vitamins
  • Prescription medicines (I’ve had problems in the past in Mexico obtaining some prescriptions)
  • Slippers (tile floors are cold)
  • A rolling duffle bag (much better than a suitcase)
  • Large sizes of toiletries

what I wish I had now (if I could find it in my California storage)

  • Molinillo (for making hot chocolate)
  • Press pot coffee (I can’t find one in the stores here)
  • Ceramic tea pot (another item I can’t seem to find)
  • Tea cozy (mornings here are chilly and it’s surprising how quickly my tea goes cold)
  • Wool throw (a gift from a friend and it would be perfect at certain times)
  • Heavy sweaters (I have two with me but they’re getting threadbare, and I have two more that I could use)
  • Hoodie (it’s just the right thing for certain cool mornings and warm days)
  • Sheets (they’re expensive here and I have so many in storage)
  • One or two more outdoor vests (lighter weight)

What should you bring?

Elaine on TotalUruguay has written one of the best guides on what an expat should bring (vs. buy locally). There are differences between Uruguay and Mexico, of course, but I think she has a great list to get you thinking about your move.


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